SAN JOSE, Calif. – InterDigital Inc. and BluWireless Technology are in discussions about designing a reference board for 60 GHz backhaul on small cell base stations. The proposed board would create a mesh network supporting links that deliver 2 Gbits/s over 150 meters and be finished before June 2015.
The work is part of a rising tide of efforts leveraging the IEEE 802.11ad standard defining 60 GHz WiFi to serve base station backhaul and eventually access networks. Late last year 60 GHz startup Peraso announced its already sampling a module for small cell backhaul based on .11ad, competing with existing products from Hittite Microwave and others expected from companies such as Infineon or Intel.
Carriers are moving to small cell base stations to deliver more network capacity in urban areas. Some believe 60 GHz links could be the best way to tie such cells into the carrier network.
Some base stations already used fixed point-to-point 60 GHz links for backhaul in products that cost thousands of dollars. The new collaboration aims to enable products with mesh networking costing a few hundred dollars. The duo plans to include on the board electrically steerable phased array antennas from unnamed partners to enable beam steering in the mesh network.
One report cited by InterDigital forecasts that a third of WiFi links will support 60 GHz by 2018. "We're interested in 60 GHz because its unlicensed spectrum and the technology has market momentum," said Doug Castor, a principal engineer heading up the project at the company.
InterDigital is supplying some mesh networking and media access controller technology as part of the collaboration. BluWireless is a chip intellectual property provider with physical layer technology for 60 GHz.
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